Douglas Fir Multiproxy Tree-Ring Data Glimpse MIS 5 Environment in the U.S. Pacific Northwest

Irina P. Panyushkina, Steven W. Leavitt, David M. Meko, Bryan A. Black, A. J.Timothy Jull, Peter Van de Water, Joe Squire, Nicholas R. Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Proxy records from the late Quaternary help in understanding climate variability on extended time scales. An ancient landslide deposit in Oregon U.S.A. preserved large logs from Douglas fir trees (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) and afforded an opportunity to explore the response of tree growth to climate on annual and decadal scales. High-precision radiocarbon dating indicates an age exceeding 63 ka, i.e., the trees grew within the generally cool Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS 5), likely during a warmer interval optimal for Douglas fir establishment. This would include the prolonged warm MIS 5e (ca. 110–130 ka), corresponding approximately to the Eemian interglacial, which was warm like the current Holocene interglacial. A 297-year tree-ring width chronology from 12 Douglas fir logs and 227-year tree-ring δ13C and δ18O records are analyzed with spectral and wavelet analysis. Variance of the ancient rings is consistent with modern Douglas fir growth sensitive to moisture and ecological disturbances. Spectra of ancient and modern chronologies are dominated by low frequencies with significant spectral peaks appearing at high frequencies (2.1–4 years) and cyclic behavior transient over centuries. It is conceivable that the O-isotopes track moisture and that C-isotopes track temperature or sunlight. The findings illustrate the challenges in assessing the response of ancient tree-ring properties to late Quaternary climate variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2161
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Eemian interglacial
  • Pseudotsuga Carrière
  • climate variability
  • late Quaternary
  • stable isotopes
  • tree-ring proxy
  • wood macrofossils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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